"ACCESS to affordable credit which is central to the credit union ethos is vital to the economic well being of our communities in these recessionary times" said Mr Joe Currid, manager of Boyle Credit Union. "The credit union movement in Ireland was founded over 50 years ago in the belief that access to affordable finance is an important tool to facilitate individual and community development" he add.
Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that provide an effective and viable alternative to for-profit financial institutions for more than 172 million members in 97 countries. They are member-owned and exist to provide a safe place to save money and access affordable loans.
Mr Currid assured credit union members that in these recessionary times when many institutions are severing lines of credit and contributing to an unprecedented credit squeeze, their local credit union remains committed to the provision of low cost credit.
"In contrast to the banks we are not asking the person in the street to provide us with support rather we are in a position to support the man in the street through the provision of financial services based on not for profit and the concepts of equality and equity."
Boyle Credit Union provides a variety of low cost loans starting at 5% all of which have the common features of:
- Interest charged on the reducing balance-the faster you repay your loan the less it costs and no penalties or charges for early settlement. - No transaction fees or charges. - All loans insured free of charge to qualifying members. "Borrowing from your local credit union not only benefits the borrower themselves in accessing low cost, flexible credit" Mr Currid stated, "It also benefits the community at large as surpluses generated by credit union activities are reinvested in the local community through the provision of dividends, interest rebates and in many cases social finance"
Boyle Credit Union is conscious that many people dread Christmas and do not look forward to the financial pressures that it brings. These fears and stresses are particularly acute this year with so many people suffering either a drastic cut or loss in income. "The danger exists that these financial pressures will drive many people into the arms of door to door money lenders." Mr Currid believed, "These companies, charging outrageous interest rates between 150 and 187% APR prey on the kind of pressure that this time of year brings."
He issued a heart felt plea to consumers not to be enticed by door-step credit but rather talk to their local credit union. "Credit Unions are committed to prudent lending and the financial welfare of their members" he said, "Members will not be encouraged to borrow excessively but rather at levels that are well within their repayment capacity."
Mr Currid was optimistic about the future role of credit unions within the financial sector and believed that their role would expand. "The New Legislative and Regulatory Environment is certainly placing pressure on credit unions to preserve their unique identities and ethos but there is sufficient strength and commitment within the movement to enable us to view forthcoming changes as opportunities rather than threats.
More and more people are disenchanted and disillusioned with banks and are seeking viable alternatives. Boyle like many small rural towns has seen the banks turn their backs by closing two bank branches in recent years while in contrast the credit union has underlined its commitment to the area by investing in up-grading our premises."